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Author Topic: Catholics ordered to offer birth control  (Read 6341 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: March 02, 2004, 01:42:29 PM »

http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/03/01/church.contraceptives.ap/index.html

SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) -- In a precedent-setting decision, the California Supreme Court ruled Monday that a Roman Catholic charity must offer birth-control coverage to its employees even though the church considers contraception a sin.

The 6-1 decision marked the first such ruling by a state's highest court. Experts said the ruling could affect thousands of workers at Catholic hospitals and other church-backed institutions in California and prompt other states to fashion similar laws.

California is one of 20 states to require that all company-provided health plans must include contraception coverage if the plans have prescription drug benefits.

The high court said that Catholic Charities is no different from other businesses in California, where "religious employers" such as churches are exempt from the requirement. Catholic Charities argued that it, too, should be exempt.

But the Supreme Court ruled that the charity is not a religious employer because it offers such secular services as counseling, low-income housing and immigration services to people of all faiths, without directly preaching Catholic values.

In fact, Justice Kathryn Werdegar wrote that a "significant majority" of the people served by the charity are not Catholic. The court also noted that the charity employs workers of differing religions.

The California Catholic Conference, which represents the church's policy position in the state, said it was disappointed with the ruling and feared that it could open the door to mandated insurance coverage of abortion.

"It shows no respect to our religious organizations," said spokeswoman Carol Hogan.

The American Civil Liberties Union applauded the ruling and called it "a great victory for California women and reproductive freedom."

Justice Janice Rogers Brown was the lone dissenting judge. Brown wrote that the Legislature's definition of a "religious employer" is too limiting if it excludes faith-based nonprofit groups like Catholic Charities.

"Here we are dealing with an intentional, purposeful intrusion into a religious organization's expression of its religious tenets and sense of mission," Brown wrote. "The government is not accidentally or incidentally interfering with religious practice; it is doing so willfully by making a judgment about what is or is not a religion."

President Bush in October nominated Brown to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. But Brown's appointment has been opposed by Senate Democrats who view her as a conservative activist who would limit abortion rights and oppose affirmative action.

Versions of the law considered in Monday's ruling have been adopted in the 20 states after lawmakers concluded private employee prescription plans without contraceptive benefits discriminated against women.

Civil-rights groups, health-care companies and Catholic organizations filed extensive position papers with the court. Most wrangled over the rights of a religion to practice what it preaches and the newly acquired rights of thousands of women employed by church-affiliated groups to be insured for contraceptives.

Catholic Charities has 183 full-time employees and had a $76 million budget in California in 2002. It does not demand that its workers be Catholic or share the church's philosophy.

The 20 states that require private-sector insurance coverage for prescription contraceptives are Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont and Washington.
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« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2004, 02:12:17 PM »

:-(
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« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2004, 02:16:35 PM »

I have no problem with this. It is a business.
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« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2004, 02:39:52 PM »

Sorry, Tom, but I think that is a very secular opinion.  This is a Catholic group and it should not be forced to offer contraception. What's next, forcing Catholic hospitals to perform abortions?
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« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2004, 03:18:30 PM »

Sorry, Tom, but I think that is a very secular opinion.  This is a Catholic group and it should not be forced to offer contraception. What's next, forcing Catholic hospitals to perform abortions?

Well, I've argued with dogged feminists about the latter, but I think there is a difference here. It's the difference between performing an immoral act oneself and and "enabling" someone else performing the act. There are lots of subtle arguments available here: one could for example insist that if it is so important, they should be forbidding their employees to do it at all. Furthermore, there is the casuistric consideration of whether the immorality of contraception counterbalances the good of providing health insurance, and beyond that the question of whether the judges have in essence taken responsibility and relieved the charity of it.
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« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2004, 03:30:29 PM »

Quote
It's the difference between performing an immoral act oneself and and "enabling" someone else performing the act.
Although I am not against contraception methods, but in principle, those who facilitate a wrong action are as responsible as those who actually commit the action.
Quote
What's next, forcing Catholic hospitals to perform abortions?
Maybe.
Peace,
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« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2004, 03:56:38 PM »

Although I am not against contraception methods, but in principle, those who facilitate a wrong action are as responsible as those who actually commit the action.

Well, here I think the word "facilitate" is a bit questionable. There's something perverse about having the organization assume responsibility for its employees' decision to use contraception, for the purpose of not facilitating this decision. One could just as well fault the company for presuming a moral authority which it certainly does not have (remembering that this isn't the church per se that we are talking about).
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« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2004, 04:12:25 PM »

Sorry, Tom, but I think that is a very secular opinion.  This is a Catholic group and it should not be forced to offer contraception. What's next, forcing Catholic hospitals to perform abortions?

As Keble explained the situations (forcing a Catholic hospital to offer contraception and forcing a Catholic hospital to perform an abortion) aren't really comparable.  The CA court said is that if an employer offered pharmaceutical benefits it had to offer contraception.  Technically the Catholic hospital is not "forced" to offer the birth control pill.  They could suspend the pharmacy benefit alltogether to get around this.  The court doesn't say that contraception has to be covered but rather that an employer cannot offer some benefits but not contraception.  

Abortion is entirely different.  First, this decision puts the burden on an employer (who happened to be a hospital) so precedent only applies to other employers.  Second, it's already settled law that providers cannot be "forced" to provide abortions.  The Supreme Court said in Casey that a state cannot place an "undue burden" on abortion.  It doesn't require a state to make abortion available.  The former is a "negative" right and the latter a "positive" right.  A "negative" right meaning that the state cannot stop someone from having an abortion.  

I'm sure the Catholic hospital will take this to federal court arguing freedom of religion.  However, they will likely lose because the Supreme Court (under the leadership of good Catholic Justice Scalia) has adopted a very "pinched" definition of religious liberty.  The law is "facially neutral" meaning that it applies equally to every employer regardless of religious affiliation.  So what the Court calls "strict scrutiny" is not applied meaning essentially that the law will be upheld.  Basically the idea is that accommodation of religious practice is allowed but not required.  

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« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2004, 04:38:30 PM »

Dear Friends:

Between the specific provisions of a State "employment law" and the constitutional (U.S. and CA State Constitutions) guarantee of freedom to exercise one's religion, this California case clearly distinguishes the line separating the two.

Catholic Charities of Sacramento, Inc. is not the Catholic Church (e.g., the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento) nor is it "an integrated auxilliary" of the Catholic Church in the U.S. for it to be exempt from the coverage of California's "Women's Contraception Equality Act" (WCEA).

Although Catholic Charities is a non-profit corporation, it does not qualify as an "exempt" organization as defined by the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.

Catholic Charities of Sacramento, Inc. could have evaded the requirement to include coverage for prescription for contraceptive drugs (which the California Supreme Court recognizes as against the teachings of the Catholic Church) by not including prescription drug benefits in the health insurance coverage for its employees.

However, by voluntarily providing "universal" health insurance to all its employees it must include coverage for contraceptive prescriptions like all other employers in the State of California. Further, Catholic Charities of Sacramento, Inc.  did not have the cold heart to deprive its employees of the additional coverage for prescription drugs.

An appeal may be worthwhile but, at the outset, I am convinced of the rationale of the California decision. The definition of a "religious employer" as used in the WCEA and in the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, which could have exempted Catholic Charities of Sacramento, Inc., seems clear to me at the moment.

And I am a Roman Catholic myself.

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« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2004, 04:50:08 PM »

Quote
Well, here I think the word "facilitate" is a bit questionable. There's something perverse about having the organization assume responsibility for its employees' decision to use contraception, for the purpose of not facilitating this decision. One could just as well fault the company for presuming a moral authority which it certainly does not have (remembering that this isn't the church per se that we are talking about).

Keble, my friend,

I agree the organization hasn't the right to tell its workers not to contracept or else, but a Catholic institution does have the right to say 'pay for it yourself', which is what the state is infringing on now.
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« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2004, 05:22:53 PM »

Talk about casuistry!  The California Supreme Court is telling a self-described Caltholic charity that it must either (1) not offer prescription coverage for its employees, or (2) pay for contraception, a practice condemned as part of Roman Catholic doctrine.  If that's not messed up, I don't know what is.

If there are other options whereby Catholic Charities can offer prescription coverage for most medical treatments not condemned by the Roman Catholic Church, but exclude the latter, I'd appreciate someone explaining that.
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« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2004, 05:25:12 PM »

Sadly, anastasios, yes.  That is the next step.
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« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2004, 07:11:14 PM »

Just curious, but is birth control so expensive that women would actually feel they need coverage?
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« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2004, 07:19:10 PM »

Well, working in a pharmacy, I've seen that there are still a lot of insurance companies that don't cover birth control. In those cases, depending on which pill, it can run a cash customer between 25-45 bucks per month.

(I find it funny this is all I can contribute to this site  Tongue)

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« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2004, 07:19:40 PM »

Just curious, but is birth control so expensive that women would actually feel they need coverage?

I'm not sure about one of "the pills" but a girl I knew in high school who had severe mental problems had to have a manditory birth control injection every three months or so.  I believe that was fairly expensive, a few hundred dollars each time.
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« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2004, 07:21:33 PM »


(I find it funny this is all I can contribute to this site  Tongue)

Kim

Bah.  I've seen you contribute meaningfully several other times.  You're selling yourself short, which you don't want to make a habit lest it get you in trouble when you become a drug dealer. :p
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« Reply #16 on: March 02, 2004, 07:23:35 PM »

Did they cover the birth control if used for non-contraceptive purposes?  I've heard of it being prescribed to regulate periods and to prevent acne.
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« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2004, 09:49:56 PM »

My understanding is that Catholic Charities is not run by the Catholic Church; it is an independent agency --  as such, I do not believe that it should be protected for religious reasons.

Of, course, I could be wrong about the ownership. If I am, and it IS a religious organization than I agree with you Dustin.
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« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2004, 10:36:31 PM »

Keble, my friend,

I agree the organization hasn't the right to tell its workers not to contracept or else, but a Catholic institution does have the right to say 'pay for it yourself', which is what the state is infringing on now.

You're absolutely right.  Besides, the CA Supreme Court has the audacity to tell a Church that one of its organizations is not a religious organization.  Catholics are urged to practice the Corporal Works of Mercy.  Catholic Charities practices this!  It is a non-profit organization and not a for-profit business like Apple Computers.

I consider this an attack by the secular world on the Catholic Church, plain and simple.

I don't need to be a lawyer to see that a First Amendment right is being abrogated by the CA State court system.   Wait until they impose upon the Catholic Church the mandatory recognition of homosexual marriages with married benefits in the work place of Catholic charitable institutions that employ paid staff members!

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« Reply #19 on: March 03, 2004, 12:55:46 AM »

You're absolutely right.  Besides, the CA Supreme Court has the audacity to tell a Church that one of its organizations is not a religious organization.  Catholics are urged to practice the Corporal Works of Mercy.  Catholic Charities practices this!  It is a non-profit organization and not a for-profit business like Apple Computers.

I consider this an attack by the secular world on the Catholic Church, plain and simple.

I don't need to be a lawyer to see that a First Amendment right is being abrogated by the CA State court system.   Wait until they impose upon the Catholic Church the mandatory recognition of homosexual marriages with married benefits in the work place of Catholic charitable institutions that employ paid staff members!



I'm sorry but this really frustrates me.  Maybe it's so clear to me because I read legal opinions all of the time and dissect them.  

But this is incorrect and it doesn't help matters.  First it is not an "attack" on the Catholic Church.  This case boils down to the legal definition of Catholic Charities.  The court differentiated Catholic Charities from the Catholic Church.  It receives public funding and serves non-Catholics so in the eyes of the law it is Catholic affiliated but not the Catholic Church.  In fact, they wouldn't qualify for public funds if they were the Catholic Church.  The state could have chosen to have a broader definition of religious entity but they chose not to.  

Second, as I wrote earlier there is likely no First Amendment claim here.  I disagree with the Supreme Court.  I have a more 'liberal' understanding of 'freedom of expression.'  I think that anything motivated by religious faith should be exempt from government regulation but the Supreme Court (because of conservatives on the bench, btw) don't agree with me.  
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« Reply #20 on: March 03, 2004, 02:58:11 AM »

Sorry, Tom, but I think that is a very secular opinion.  This is a Catholic group and it should not be forced to offer contraception. What's next, forcing Catholic hospitals to perform abortions?

I agree, anastasios. I imagine our I.O.C.C. will face similar pressure eventually. As is usual, the opposite desired result will occur with med benefits being totally pulled rather than to succumb to judicial meddling where it does not belong. Where does this junk end? Next all dioceses will be required to offer this coverage to their staff employees? And their priests-Orthodox, of course Wink, meaning the parishes, will have to pay for this coverage as well?

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« Reply #21 on: March 03, 2004, 08:22:31 AM »

It is a private non-profit business that operates in a secular nation and as such MUST abide by the same laws as any other business. It is NOT the Catholic Church.

It is up to the Catholics who work for that company (and any company) to CHOOSE not to utilize what they feel is against the teachings of the church.


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« Reply #22 on: March 03, 2004, 10:58:57 AM »

Comments above illustrate the kind of tortured logic and rationalization that gives lawyers a bad name.

Catholic Charities was founded by the Catholic church, to assist that church in carrying out corporate works of mercy.  The local branch in Fort Worth has large photos of their local bishop, and of the Pope, hanging over the reception desk.  True, they are willing to hire non-Catholics to help carry out the work, and may even have a large degree of administrative independence from the local diocesan structure, but it seems to me to take some pretty complicated rationalization to argue on that basis that this is "just another company," and not a Catholic ministry.

Just what benefit do the liberals in this discussion see in the government's imposing its will in these matters?
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« Reply #23 on: March 03, 2004, 01:20:08 PM »

Comments above illustrate the kind of tortured logic and rationalization that gives lawyers a bad name.

Catholic Charities was founded by the Catholic church, to assist that church in carrying out corporate works of mercy.

But I'll bet its employees aren't all Catholic, and furthermore, I'll bet it cannot legally insist that its employees be Catholic. It could thus be argued that even within the domain of Catholic morality a Catholic organization is obligated to respect the independence of its non-Catholic employees in making moral judgements.
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« Reply #24 on: March 03, 2004, 01:48:17 PM »

But I'll bet its employees aren't all Catholic, and furthermore, I'll bet it cannot legally insist that its employees be Catholic. It could thus be argued that even within the domain of Catholic morality a Catholic organization is obligated to respect the independence of its non-Catholic employees in making moral judgements.


It is one thing to respect their independence.

It is quite another to be required to bankroll it.
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« Reply #25 on: March 03, 2004, 02:22:59 PM »

It is one thing to respect their independence.

It is quite another to be required to bankroll it.

Well, they are required to bankroll it already. Consider if one of their employees had a drinking problem, and they found out about it. It is the money they pay him which allows him to buy booze, and therefore they are "bankrolling" his immorality. From thence we go on to a positive requirement to intervene. And this paternalism can be extended to any issue of immorality.

We do not view the employment relationship, however, as authorizing that. The paternalism of employment is limited. If employment benefits are pay (and they are), then what's the difference?

Indeed, there's another aspect of this: that ultimately what is important about this issue is the desire of Catholic Charities (or rather, its leadership) to make a statement about their own morality. Here comes the P word again.....
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« Reply #26 on: March 03, 2004, 02:29:41 PM »

Comments above illustrate the kind of tortured logic and rationalization that gives lawyers a bad name.

Catholic Charities was founded by the Catholic church, to assist that church in carrying out corporate works of mercy.  The local branch in Fort Worth has large photos of their local bishop, and of the Pope, hanging over the reception desk.  True, they are willing to hire non-Catholics to help carry out the work, and may even have a large degree of administrative independence from the local diocesan structure, but it seems to me to take some pretty complicated rationalization to argue on that basis that this is "just another company," and not a Catholic ministry.

Just what benefit do the liberals in this discussion see in the government's imposing its will in these matters?

Ah...the dreaded *L* word.  It always adds so much to the discussion.  

Just what "liberals in this discussion" are you referring to?  

Say for example Catholic Charities only allowed spouses to be covered under its insurance plan if the couple was married according to the Catholic Church?  

Catholic Charities is neither "just another company" (not what the CA court said, btw) or the Catholic Church.  It is not the "tortued logic" of lawyers that is to blame here but the "pinched" definition of "religious employer" written by the CA legislature.  They could have chosen to include Catholic Charities and other religious charities as religious employers but they chose not to.  

The government is not "imposing its will" but rather the people of CA have "imposed their will" which they have every right to do as CA is a democracy.  If the people of CA don't like this ruling they can go to their elected officials and get the definition of "religious employer" changed.  The court here merely interpreted a statute.  

We all know very well that if someone was to assert that Catholic Charities cannot receive any public funding because it is a religious entity, all of you would probably say that was "anti-Catholic" too.  You would all argue (logically, btw) that Catholic Charities's purpose is not to "teach" the Catholic faith and that it doesn't just serve Catholics, precisely the argument made by the state of CA.  
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« Reply #27 on: March 03, 2004, 03:11:01 PM »

Just curious, but is birth control so expensive that women would actually feel they need coverage?

Orthotryclin is $50.00 per 1 month supply if not covered by insurance.

Second, Catholic Charities is a non profit organization and not a religious employer. Just because it is there does not mean the employees MUST use it. If they are good Catholics they wouldn't need it?

I don't see a problem with it.
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« Reply #28 on: March 03, 2004, 03:12:01 PM »

Where does this junk end? Next all dioceses will be required to offer this coverage to their staff employees?

That won't ever happen. Things that are unquestionably churches get the benefit of the doubt here because it's simply too hard to distinguish what is and is not free exercise for them.

The overstatement here is getting a bit much. Abortion simply isn't a comparable issue. I don't know, maybe NOW insists that its health insurance coverage include elective abortion, but no ordinary employer would have it. And it just isn't plausible that an attempt to make someone or someplace do abortions would succeed.
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« Reply #29 on: March 03, 2004, 03:15:17 PM »

Dear Friends:

If I may add to Jennifer's remarks, "Catholic Charities USA," together with "Catholic Relief Services" and Catholic Campaign for Human Development," as a group is the largest non-governmental "agency" provider of relief, development, and social services in the U.S.

Catholic Charities USA is manned by Catholic laity (not founded by the Catholic Church per se) whose funding comes largely from charitable donations of individuals and corporations, while the other two are organizations directly funded and maintained by, and, therefore, under the direction of, the USCCB.

Catholic Charities of Sacramento, Inc. is one of the local/state organizations "federated" or "networked" under the auspices of the national "Catholic Charities USA." The latter is, in turn, one of the 162 national organizations "confederated" under "Caritas International."

In the U.S., Catholic Charities, in a strict sense, "does not take" government funds but it is "approached" by federal and state agencies for the "proper
disbursement" or "utilization" of available government funds earmarked for charitable causes and for other social services, the group being the most organized and it having a "nationwide" presence.

The government knows that Catholic Charities adheres strictly to the teachings of the Catholic Church, especially on the "hot" areas of abortion and contraception, which the organization unabashedly proclaims in its mission satement.

The causes of friction, if we may call them that, arise because the programs and projects of Catholic Charities, and the other two Catholic agencies, "invade" or, at least, parallel the area of responsibility of "civil society," i.e., the secular government.

There are existing laws (like WCEA of California) and regulations, and many more to be passed by State legislatures, which, to the view of the Church and Catholic agencies such as Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services, infringe on the freedom to exercise one's religion.

However, the definition of a "religious employer" as used in the WCEA and in the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, which could have exempted Catholic Charities of Sacramento, Inc. and could have justified its argument that the law (and the Constitution) was infringing on its "religious freedom,"  seems clear to me at the moment that the California Supreme Court decision is not an assault on religious freedom.

The provisions of the California statute (WCEA) are being applied "universally," i.e., all employers within the State of California are obligated to include prescription for contraceptive drugs if they choose to include prescription for drugs as one of the benefits under an employer-sponsored health insurance for its employees.  One of the allowed exemptions is if you are a "religious employer" as defined in the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.

Catholic Charities of Sacramento, Inc. simply does not fall under any of the 4 definitions provided by the Internal Revenue Code.

This will be a continuing problem to be sure.

Amado
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« Reply #30 on: March 03, 2004, 03:31:54 PM »

That won't ever happen. Things that are unquestionably churches get the benefit of the doubt here because it's simply too hard to distinguish what is and is not free exercise for them.

The overstatement here is getting a bit much. Abortion simply isn't a comparable issue. I don't know, maybe NOW insists that its health insurance coverage include elective abortion, but no ordinary employer would have it. And it just isn't plausible that an attempt to make someone or someplace do abortions would succeed.


Keble, Please...

Do Not quote me out of context.

Demetri
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« Reply #31 on: March 03, 2004, 05:24:02 PM »



We all know very well that if someone was to assert that Catholic Charities cannot receive any public funding because it is a religious entity, all of you would probably say that was "anti-Catholic" too.  You would all argue (logically, btw) that Catholic Charities's purpose is not to "teach" the Catholic faith and that it doesn't just serve Catholics, precisely the argument made by the state of CA.  

Apparently, "all you" is somehow less egregious a categorization than "the dreaded L word."

Well, I'm pretty sure I'd be included among the former, and I can say categorically:  No, I would not protest government reluctance to fund Catholic charities and other religiously-based charities.  Advocating government involvement in religously-based charities is not among the Bush programs which most appeal to me.
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« Reply #32 on: March 03, 2004, 08:58:45 PM »

Good Roman Catholics are not supposed to have sex outside of marriage, and if they're good Roman Catholics, they won't need birth control anyway.  

Just think if the state said that starting tomorrow the IOCC must offer to all of its employees contraceptive benefits on their health plan.  Fine, but I bet the majority wouldn't even use those benefits.
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« Reply #33 on: March 03, 2004, 09:21:20 PM »

I'm sorry but this really frustrates me.  Maybe it's so clear to me because I read legal opinions all of the time and dissect them.  

But this is incorrect and it doesn't help matters.  First it is not an "attack" on the Catholic Church.  This case boils down to the legal definition of Catholic Charities.  The court differentiated Catholic Charities from the Catholic Church.  It receives public funding and serves non-Catholics so in the eyes of the law it is Catholic affiliated but not the Catholic Church.  In fact, they wouldn't qualify for public funds if they were the Catholic Church.  The state could have chosen to have a broader definition of religious entity but they chose not to.  

Second, as I wrote earlier there is likely no First Amendment claim here.  I disagree with the Supreme Court.  I have a more 'liberal' understanding of 'freedom of expression.'  I think that anything motivated by religious faith should be exempt from government regulation but the Supreme Court (because of conservatives on the bench, btw) don't agree with me.  


So if Catholic Charities didn't receive public funds, would the plaintiffs still have a case even if Catholic Charities serves non-Catholics?

The Catholic schools in NM use State-supplied textbooks that are provided at taxpayer expense.  Will this mean that paid staff (administrators and teachers) will have to be provided contraceptive coverage if a drug benefit is offered (which it probably is)?

The solution is simple--stop taking public funds.  Getting into bed with the Gov't will turn one into a harlot sooner or later.

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« Reply #34 on: March 03, 2004, 09:25:35 PM »


Just what benefit do the liberals in this discussion see in the government's imposing its will in these matters?

Notwithstanding Jennifer's legal assertions which for all I know (which isn't much!) are correct, I'm sure you can understand the "benefit" that liberals wish to achieve by having the gov't impose its will on a Catholic organization.  It's not all that different from being required to worship Caesar.

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« Reply #35 on: March 03, 2004, 09:36:37 PM »


We all know very well that if someone was to assert that Catholic Charities cannot receive any public funding because it is a religious entity, all of you would probably say that was "anti-Catholic" too.  You would all argue (logically, btw) that Catholic Charities's purpose is not to "teach" the Catholic faith and that it doesn't just serve Catholics, precisely the argument made by the state of CA.  


Well I may then be the ONLY Catholic that would assert that Catholic organizations perhaps should not receive Gov't funds.  Refer to my harlot statement.

Serving non Catholics may not be "teaching" the Catholic faith directly but in living the Catholic faith--i.e., the corporal works of mercy, etc.--it is still a form of evangelization.  Why was Catholic Charities set up in the first place?  What is its mission?  I'll bet it is a religious mission.
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« Reply #36 on: March 03, 2004, 10:56:59 PM »

So if Catholic Charities didn't receive public funds, would the plaintiffs still have a case even if Catholic Charities serves non-Catholics?

The Catholic schools in NM use State-supplied textbooks that are provided at taxpayer expense.  Will this mean that paid staff (administrators and teachers) will have to be provided contraceptive coverage if a drug benefit is offered (which it probably is)?

The solution is simple--stop taking public funds.  Getting into bed with the Gov't will turn one into a harlot sooner or later.



Remember that this case dealt only with California law.  

I've skimmed the actual opinion and here's the summary.   (it's 80 pages - here's a link http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S099822.PDF)

CA's law requires that employers offering insurance plans which cover prescription drugs have to cover contraceptives.  The law allows a "religious employer" to exclude coverage for contraceptives if it goes against their religious beliefs.  So the case centered around whether Catholic Charities was a "religious employer."  

The law defines a "religious employer" as "an entity for which one of the following is true:
(A)  the inculcation of religious values is the purpose of the entity;
(B)  the entity primarily employs persons who share the religious tenets of the entity;
(C)  the entity serves primarily persons who share the religious tenets of the entity;
(D)  the entity is a nonprofit organization as described in Section 6033(a)(2)(A)i or iii, of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended."

The IRS Code referenced by the law is as follows:
"churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches..."
"the exclusively religious activities of any religious order"

The CA court held that Catholic Charities didn't meet any of the definition's criteria.  It's fairly easy to understand the court's decision.  

First, Catholic Charities' primary purpose is not to "inculcate" religious values.  It's stated purpose is to offer social services to the general public.  

Second, Catholic Charities does not either primarily employ or primarily serve Catholics.  

Third, it is not a "church" or the "auxiliary" of a church.  (auxiliary being defined as a subsidiary)  

So to answer your question, it looks like the public funding was not that important.  
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« Reply #37 on: March 04, 2004, 02:01:05 AM »

Remember that this case dealt only with California law.  

I've skimmed the actual opinion and here's the summary.   (it's 80 pages - here's a link http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S099822.PDF)

I suppose the lawyers will call this a "brief," which it is anything but!

Quote
. . .

The law defines a "religious employer" as "an entity for which one of the following is true:
(A)  the inculcation of religious values is the purpose of the entity;
(B)  the entity primarily employs persons who share the religious tenets of the entity;
(C)  the entity serves primarily persons who share the religious tenets of the entity;
(D)  the entity is a nonprofit organization as described in Section 6033(a)(2)(A)i or iii, of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended."

The IRS Code referenced by the law is as follows:
"churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches..."
"the exclusively religious activities of any religious order"

I can see why the CA court may have ruled this way.  Nevertheless I see a great danger in this definition and perhaps the IRS' too.  There are many "Catholic" institutions that have arisen since V-II that are lay organized and run but which have as their mission furthering the aims of the Church--evangelization, etc.--that do not necessarily lead to direct attempts at conversions.  An example would be a soup kitchen that serves more than Catholics and may have non-Catholics on their volunteer and paid staff.  Without resorting to legal definitions, this example would clearly be a Catholic organization even if some Bishop's name isn't on the deed to the property or one who is running the organization.  Yet the aforementioned legal criteria would not recognize this soup kitchen as a religious organization.

Quote
The CA court held that Catholic Charities didn't meet any of the definition's criteria.  It's fairly easy to understand the court's decision.  

First, Catholic Charities' primary purpose is not to "inculcate" religious values.  It's stated purpose is to offer social services to the general public.  

Second, Catholic Charities does not either primarily employ or primarily serve Catholics.  

Third, it is not a "church" or the "auxiliary" of a church.  (auxiliary being defined as a subsidiary)  

It looks to me as if CC has a religious purpose even if it doesn't fit the above criteria.  The aforementioned criteria unduly constrain religious activity in this country in my non-legal, inexpert opinion.  As a layperson I might want to start up an organization, not directly owned by the RCC and thus not probably a subsidiary of the Church to promote some Church value or values.  The objects of my organization's efforts would likely include non-Catholics.  I might even hire some people without regard to their religious profession who assist in this endeavor.  I'm now stuck paying for contraceptive services if my organization offers health insurance with a prescription drug benefit.  This lay run, non-Church owned Catholic values organization is not considered a religious organization because there is no one wearing a cassock or a religious habit running the plplace!  This just doesn't make sense.  Yet the purpose of the organization is not to sell somebody a widger or other commercial service but futhering the mission of the Church--feed the hungry!

In short, with out regard to these legal technicalities, we have Gov't getting into the nickers of religion.  I hope this goes to the U.S. Supreme Court and CA loses . . . although I do not have much confidence in Catholic Charities prevailing.

Quote
So to answer your question, it looks like the public funding was not that important.  

At least I can agree with you on this point.  Nevertheless, accepting the Govt's grubby money can lead to a loss of one's virtue IMHO!

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« Reply #38 on: March 04, 2004, 10:23:12 AM »

Well, they are required to bankroll it already. Consider if one of their employees had a drinking problem, and they found out about it. It is the money they pay him which allows him to buy booze, and therefore they are "bankrolling" his immorality. From thence we go on to a positive requirement to intervene. And this paternalism can be extended to any issue of immorality.

We do not view the employment relationship, however, as authorizing that. The paternalism of employment is limited. If employment benefits are pay (and they are), then what's the difference?

Indeed, there's another aspect of this: that ultimately what is important about this issue is the desire of Catholic Charities (or rather, its leadership) to make a statement about their own morality. Here comes the P word again.....


They pay their employees money, which is not an immoral thing to do.

They do not provide them with coupons for the local liquor store, not as far as I know anyway. Even if they did, the consumption of alcohol, in moderate amounts, is not immoral.

Contraceptives, however, are another matter.

Since Catholics and many other Christians view any use of artificial contraceptives as immoral, being forced by the government to specifically bankroll that goes beyond being required to respect the independence of non-Catholic employees. It amounts to being forced by the government to violate the tenets of one's religion.

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« Reply #39 on: March 04, 2004, 02:13:37 PM »

Since Catholics and many other Christians view any use of artificial contraceptives as immoral, being forced by the government to specifically bankroll that goes beyond being required to respect the independence of non-Catholic employees. It amounts to being forced by the government to violate the tenets of one's religion.

What's the difference between CC paying indirectly for contraceptives through a paycheck, or indirectly through a health plan?

Or try this a different way. Suppose they had an HMO out there, and this HMO had a simple system with standard coverage for anyone who purchased it, coverage which included contraception. If CC wanted to offer this HMO to their employees, would they be obligated to negotiate a new contract in which contraceptives were specifically excluded?

What I'm seeing is that the line of reasoning isn't being followed through. I'm still reading that the employer here is assuming responsibility for their employees' acts in order to have influence over them. If the ruling stands, then CC doesn't have responsibility, because the issue is out of their hands. The reason they want that responsibility is so that they can discourage their employees from using contraception through economic means. Or alternatively, so they can practice their piety in public. But if you follow the "responsibility" line through, they should then be acting more aggressively and forbidding their employees from using contraception. I assume that everyone sees this as rediculous (and it is). But it seems to me that the reason it is rediculous is precisely because the charity, as an employer, is usurping the priest's position in trying to act as a pastor to its employees.
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« Reply #40 on: March 04, 2004, 04:08:43 PM »

It looks to me as if CC has a religious purpose even if it doesn't fit the above criteria.  The aforementioned criteria unduly constrain religious activity in this country in my non-legal, inexpert opinion.  As a layperson I might want to start up an organization, not directly owned by the RCC and thus not probably a subsidiary of the Church to promote some Church value or values.  The objects of my organization's efforts would likely include non-Catholics.  I might even hire some people without regard to their religious profession who assist in this endeavor.  I'm now stuck paying for contraceptive services if my organization offers health insurance with a prescription drug benefit.  This lay run, non-Church owned Catholic values organization is not considered a religious organization because there is no one wearing a cassock or a religious habit running the plplace!  This just doesn't make sense.  Yet the purpose of the organization is not to sell somebody a widger or other commercial service but futhering the mission of the Church--feed the hungry!

Take it up with Catholic Republican Arnold S. (won't even attempt to spell his name - we all know who I'm talking about).  

I'd venture to guess that this is all really about Catholic hospitals.  If they are considered to primarily serve/employ Catholics or to teach Catholicism, then they could not receive public funds (Medicare and Medicaid).  

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« Reply #41 on: March 04, 2004, 05:46:23 PM »

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